This clip is a compilation of TV interviews that took place in September 2019 with Abu Alaa Al-Walai, the Secretary-General of the Iraqi Shiite militia Kata'ib Sayyid Al-Shuhada. In a September 10, 2019 interview on Al-Sharqiya News TV (Iraq), Al-Walai said that he is ideologically anti-American, and he reiterated a previous statement that the American forces in Iraq will be taken hostage by Islamic resistance forces if a U.S.-Iran war breaks out. He specified that Kata'ib Sayyid Al-Shuhada is present near and can shut down all of the American bases in Iraq, and he said that his faith is more important to him than his identity as an Iraqi. In addition, Al-Walai said that the Iraqi government should turn the threat from Israel into "an opportunity and a great victory" just like he said was done with ISIS. In a September 8, 2019 interview on Al-Alam TV (Iran), Al-Walai said that Kata'ib Sayyid Al-Shuhada would retaliate against Israel anywhere that is necessary, including Lebanon and Syria. Al-Walai again said that the U.S. forces in Iraq would be taken hostage if a U.S.-Iran war broke out. To see a related interview with Al-Walai, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 7452.
Following are excerpts:
Abu Alaa Al-Walai on September 10, 2019: As an ideologue, I like to be anti-American. I state this clearly, and there is no room for confusion. I said on another channel that the Americans are held hostage by the resistance factions, and this time I say loud and clear that the Americans are POWs on suspended sentences. They are hostages on a suspended sentence. If a war breaks out, the Americans will definitely be taken hostage by the resistance factions.
The Americans are currently present in over 11 camps, and we are present near all these camps. We know when they come and we know when they go. The Americans are now using aircrafts. We can shut down all those places where the Americans are present.
The Americans are sending delegations to the Islamic Republic [of Iran] and asking the resistance to stop its attacks for a period of two months so that they can pull out [of Iraq]. If the Americans were not afraid and screaming in pain, would they have asked the Iranians and Qasem Soleimani for the resistance to stop its attacks? This has been made public. It’s on YouTube.
Interviewer: Which comes first: Your country or your faith?
Abu Alaa Al-Walai: Are you really asking this?
Interviewer: Yes, I want to understand. For me, my country comes before my faith. For me, faith is secondary in my identity. I am Iraqi before anything else, and only then come the other categories.
Abu Alaa Al-Walai: For me, faith comes first…
Interviewer: Great. Faith comes first…
Abu Alaa Al-Walai: For the sake of my faith, I will sacrifice my blood, my property, and everything. We cannot live without faith.
Interviewer: This means that if…
Abu Alaa Al-Walai: When we were fighting, what were we fighting for?
Abu Alaa Al-Walai: When we defended Iraq and the holy places, it was a battle driven by faith.
Why did we fight Saddam Hussein? Wasn’t he the President of Iraq? So why did we fight Saddam Hussein?
Interviewer: You fought because of your faith.
Abu Alaa Al-Walai: Yes, because of my faith.
ISIS was a threat, and we turned that threat into an opportunity and a great victory. The ball is now in the court of the Iraqi government. It should turn this Israeli threat into an opportunity and into a great victory.
Abu Alaa Al-Walai, on September 8, 2019: Wherever our retaliation is needed, we will be ready.
Interviewer: Even in Lebanon or Syria?
Abu Alaa Al-Walai: In our capacity as resistance factions – I’m not talking about the PMU… If, in our capacity as resistance factions, wherever we are asked to retaliate… If it is Lebanon, we are willing to go there and fight alongside Hizbullah against Israel. If it is Syria… This is our eighth year in Syria. So we will be in Syria and we will retaliate against the Israelis from Syrian soil. We have no problem with that whatsoever.
Interviewer: And what if a confrontation breaks out between Iran and the U.S.?
Abu Alaa Al-Walai: In the event of a confrontation between America and the Islamic Republic… I said a few days ago in a TV interview that in the event of [a war] between America and any Arab country, we would support the Arab country, but that in the case of [a war] between America and the Islamic Republic, we will stand by the Islamic Republic.
We will not allow the Americans to use Iraq and their bases here to attack the Islamic Republic. In such a case, the Islamic resistance will have something else to say. They fought us in the battlefields, and they are familiar with our strikes. The resistance will take off the gloves in such a case. Everybody will retaliate.
Interviewer: The Americans will become hostages?
Abu Alaa Al-Walai: The Americans are hostages. The Americans listen to what I say. When I said this, they turned to the Iraqi government, and the following day I was contacted by the government, and they said that this statement caused them embarrassment. I said to them that this is our position in the Islamic resistance. If a war breaks out, the Americans will be held hostage by the resistance. We won’t listen to anyone in this matter.